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Is There Evidence Against BRT Sparking Development?
Downtown Bogota and the TransMilenio BRT. Photo by rutlo.

Downtown Bogota and the TransMilenio BRT. Photo by rutlo.

This is a serious question, but can any of the folks who get so upset with arguments for BRT point me to any resources showing that high-investment BRT—Bogota, not Houston—with physically separated right-of-ways and permanent-seeming stations and the rest, do not stimulate TOD? Or more interestingly, do not stimulate more TOD per dollar spent? There is good research showing the capacity of BRT to stimulate development, as well as the testimony of city officials; I can’t find anything arguing that BRT routes with signs of permanence do not do so.

That would certainly help improve this debate.

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  • Considering the unique characteristics of transportation in North America, examples from elsewhere are useless. If it’s an impossible metric, then we have to admit the question can’t be answered yet. Of course, it’s not an impossible metric because there *are* fully dedicated BRT lines in the US, and there have been for decades.

    As for Cleveland, I am skeptical, but not because it’s BRT. The Healthline stops virtually every block along its route. It cannot be called “rapid” in any sense of the word. When you stop that often, I’m skeptical that the relationship is one of correlation rather than causation. When your stop frequency is so different from what has been shown to work (regardless of mode), then the burden of proof is going to be extremely high to show that the benefits are caused by the transit.

  • Noah Kazis

    First, the “in North America” sets up an impossible metric. You can’t build a BRT system without showing that it can spark TOD, but you can’t use other countries to show it. There’s no way to win. It’s important that we be able to look at and learn from other countries, no?

    But in the United States context, check out page 24 of the third link. Cleveland claims huge benefits already from the HealthLine, that’s in the fourth link. That’s all I could find one way or the other, which is why I’m asking for more.

  • … At least not in North America.

  • The burdon of proof is on BRT proponents to show that their mode can do the things they say it can do. None of your links show that.